To answer the question of whether India should launch a war against drugs, it is first required to highlight the extent of the crisis. In India, drugs and substance abuse are widespread. Considering the condition of mandatory adversities circulating in a developing country, the issue of drug consumption is of prominence in the context of India. Among the other problems India faces, such as inadequate healthcare, lack of educational opportunities, poor infrastructure, an ailing economy, poverty, and hunger, it also needs to address the problem of rising narcotics use.
Statistics suggest that almost 3.1 crore of the Indian population consumes cannabis (AIIMS report). Finding a resolution for drug abuse in India needs a closer look at the elements influencing the process. One of the leading reasons contributing to the issue is that India is a part of the Golden Crescent, a popular drug trafficking route designated to distribute heroin and opium. The pathway is a means to connect major South Asian countries to facilitate illicit drug business. As the most economically potent country among the rest, India attracts better illegal trade. Several other domestic factors are also responsible for accelerating the growth of nationwide drug circulation. Such as:
1. Cannabis and Opium plantations: The Himalayan region is immensely popular for its illegal cannabis cultivation. The derivative from the plantations is purposed to be fragmented into drug substances for consumption. Interestingly, the cultivation has likewise made its way to Andhra Pradesh and is anticipating being crowned as the nation's cannabis capital. The fact that Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand have legalized hemp (finished product of the cannabis plant) plantations almost gives a chance for the drug industry to hold on to a camouflage pass. Given the intensity of the illegal cannabis network that distributes toxic drugs throughout India, the product also serves as an ideal for locals of Himachal Pradesh. Now, as a justification, Himachal Pradesh is pursuing marijuana legalization based on the example of other states since local communities rely on the crop. The Cannabis plants, for instance, are used by locals to keep warm in extreme temperatures as well as serve for certain medical purposes.
Like cannabis, illegal opium cultivation is gaining traction by masking behind poppy farms. Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have the majority of opium fields, and they possess legal credentials to do so. Since poppy cultivation is permissible by law, drug traffickers choose to produce narcotic opioids in shade, which are raw derivatives of the poppy plant. Plus, the profits derived from the sale of these drug byproducts benefit low-income farming families.
2. Consumers from diverse backgrounds: It is incredible to realize that India has a diversified class of drug consumers. There is a wide range of age groups from preteens to seniors and the underprivileged to the rich. Neither differs from the other besides the quality and category of the drugs consumed. This phenomenon stems from a lack of awareness and the economic gap between the social classes. For the socially inferior group of drug/substance abusers, consumption of narcotics evolves as a need-based activity, majorly to escape the challenges of adversities laid in front of them. They not only develop a knack for drug abuse but also show a strong tendency toward alcoholism. A recent report suggests that children in slums and those who are homeless make up a good portion of those addicted to drugs and alcohol. These statistics demand attention.
On the contrary, for wealthy people consuming drugs is a way to show off their financial capacities and step up on the social monetary ladder. The activity soon transforms into a dependency. There is a very common situation of school kids, university students, or people belonging to socially able groups abusing narcotics on a significant scale. A variety of illicit drugs will usually be available in a several places, from clubs to wedding parties, school trips, university dorms, etc.
Where does the Indian government stand on this issue?
The Indian government has a devoted association, namely the Narcotics Control Bureau, to respond to illegal drug trade-related matters. Additionally, state police departments in India have special units that are dedicated to eradicating drug and substance abuse. The Indian laws underline that anyone caught abusing drugs could face imprisonment or have to pay heavy fines to be acquitted. Even so, the number of abusers is regularly rising. Part of the reason is due to severely corrupted governmental authorities. In most cases, when the abuser comes from the undermined class of the society, authorities tend to ignore them instead of offering help to overcome addiction. And, when the rich are busted, they get laid off by paying a hefty number of bribes.
However, when it comes to non-state agencies, the organizations reciprocate towards helping the addicts. Fairly, only a few resorts to seeking assistance from these organizations to fight against drug/alcohol addiction. Also, it is crucial to note that most of these organizations are affordable to moderately blessed sections of society. Whereas only a few works towards obliging the poor at a zero cost but those usually lack adequate resources.
Addressing the question:
Even the rising number of drug abusers themselves is reason enough for India to launch a war on drugs. Isn't it fascinating to note that when it comes to finding drugs or trafficking them, teenagers prove to be more effective than the authorities? It signals an obvious loophole in the drug control strategies practiced in India. Not only do the authorities have to upgrade their plan of action, but they also need to be instantaneous. Further, the Indian government must ensure that there are tougher penalties when it comes to punishing drug traffickers, as well as offering rehabilitation programs for those who are in dire need of being freed from their addictions.
As India is a popular destination for drug distribution in the South Asian region, it is time for the Indian government to tighten its border drug control units. With the Taliban taking over in Afghanistan, it is obvious to expect that the opium drug industry there will be in full bloom and might soon make its way to damaging the Indian population. In overview, India's launch of the war on drugs is much must in order to secure a healthy future, especially for the youth. As a developing country, India requires to be in its best shape to reach the top faster without having to worry about the health repercussions from a drug-addicted population.